Somewhere along the line, we’ve gotten used to spending $6-$10 a month for entertainment via a credit card and that forms the streaming app business so far.
Now, according to Bloomberg, Comcast plans to inaugurate a subscription online video service in the next year or so featuring content from all the networks its owns, which range from NBC to USA to Bravo, MSNBC to Telemundo to E! To SyFy.
It will join CBS, whose CBS All Access has been doing something like that for a few years now. It also joins Hulu, which it must know, is already offering what it sounds like Comcast would offer and more. It knows that because Comcast owns around a third of Hulu.
Ostensibly, the old line networks find streaming apps crucial toward keeping younger viewers. It would also seem that content has something to do with that and broadcast networks have gotten a little hipper in the last few seasons.
Still, who needs 'em? I'm in all ways demographically irrelevant and therefore a perfect candidate for network TV. On NBC, I watch "Saturday Night Live." Via online clips, on Sunday. (Available, by the way, where ever you are online. You can't miss 'em.)
It wouldn’t be too likely Comcast’s streaming app would be breaking a lot of new programming ground itself, since Comcast does happen to own a cable company with 20 million or so subscribers. I’m assuming they want to keep that going. Packaging all of its networks into a streaming package won’t become a big hit, but whatever customers it can attract will be like rain falling from the sky.
And who knows? Everybody in the business seems intent on testing every way for consumers to get their content. Once cable, satellite or over-the-air were the only ways to go. Now the options continue to grow, all of them with limitations.
Bloomberg’s “Comcast Is Planning A Netflix Rival Using NBC Shows” is an example of a headline writer taking a giant leap--like saying Schwinn competes with Tesla in the environmentally-responsible transportation business.
CBS has had a couple of All Access exclusive series--”The Good Fight”and “Star Trek Discovery” -- but I doubt anybody over there thinks it’s competing with Netflix by featuring back episodes of “Blue Bloods.” CBS All Access reportedly has 1.5 million subscribers.
At some point, though, as people add more and more on-demand streaming services, they will notice the nicks on their wallet from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, CBS Access, HBO Now, Showtime and whatever sport they happen to pay to follow. All of that, perhaps, still adding up to less than what a cable subscription costs. But more, probably, than can be justified. Unlike cable and satellite, zapping an app, or restarting one, is easy and cheap.